Paul vows fight against Planned Parenthood funds

Paul vows fight against Planned Parenthood funds

Presidential candidate Sen. Rand PaulRandal (Rand) Howard PaulOn The Money: House votes to avert shutdown, fund government through November | Judge blocks California law requiring Trump tax returns | Senate panel approves three spending bills Paul objection snags confirmation of former McConnell staffer Defense bill talks set to start amid wall fight MORE (R-Ky.) vowed at a Thursday rally on Capitol Hill to block funding for Planned Parenthood, underscoring the pressure facing GOP leaders to avoid a government shutdown.

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“We should hold our ground,” Paul said at a rally with anti-abortion groups outside the Capitol, where 2008 GOP vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin also made an appearance.

“If the Democrats want to shut down government over this, then it goes to Democrats,” he said.

Lawmakers face an Oct. 1 deadline to fund the government. Many conservatives say that measure should not include funds for Planned Parenthood, but Democrats and President Obama will not accept that carve-out.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellPatagonia says to shut stores for a few hours during Global Climate Strike Overnight Health Care — Presented by Partnership for America's Health Care Future — Pelosi unveils signature plan to lower drug prices | Trump says it's 'great to see' plan | Progressives pushing for changes On The Money: House votes to avert shutdown, fund government through November | Judge blocks California law requiring Trump tax returns | Senate panel approves three spending bills MORE (R-Ky.) has vowed that there will not be a shutdown, and said that Republicans must wait for a new president before Planned Parenthood can be defunded. 

“We just don’t have the votes to get the outcome that we’d like,” McConnell said last week. 

But Paul rejected that argument, calling for a strategy of excluding Planned Parenthood from the spending bill and then calling a vote on a separate bill to fund the organization, which he said would make clear where members stand. 

“Some are saying we don’t have enough votes,” Paul said. “We don’t have enough votes to defund Planned Parenthood. That gets it exactly wrong. You have to fund Planned Parenthood.

“They do not have 60 votes to fund Planned Parenthood, as long as we separate the bills and tell them, ‘You go out and find 60 votes to fund Planned Parenthood,’” he added. 

Asked after the rally if he could ever vote for a continuing resolution containing any funds for Planned Parenthood, Paul replied simply, “No.”

Another presidential candidate, Sen. Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzCruz endorses GOP candidate for Senate in New Hampshire Missouri Republican wins annual craft brewing competition for lawmakers GOP signals unease with Barr's gun plan MORE (R-Texas) has been circulating a letter taking a similar stand against voting for any government funding bill that includes Planned Parenthood money. 

In the House, Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) warned against attaching defunding to the spending bill at a conference meeting on Wednesday, though he did not completely rule it out. 

But he faces pressure from a group of conservatives, 31 of whom have signed a letter vowing to oppose a spending bill with Planned Parenthood funds. 

At a press conference on Thursday, Boehner declined to say whether he agrees with McConnell that Republicans cannot defund Planned Parenthood with Obama in office. 

“The goal here is not to shut down the government,” Boehner replied. “The goal is to stop these horrific practices of organizations selling baby parts.”

At the rally on Thursday, Rep. Tim Huelskamp (R-Kan.), one of the signers of the letter, implored Republican leadership to take a firmer stand, saying the need for a new spending bill by Oct. 1 provides an opportunity. 

“Mitch McConnell, God bless him, said we can’t stop it,” Huelskamp said. “Mr. McConnell, you just don’t do it! There’s nothing to stop come October 1.”